Thanks to the movie Cold Mountain (which I should probably see sometime) shapenote singing has now made its first appearance at the Academy Awards. So now those of you who have been wondering about the singing I've been doing on occasional Sundays will have an idea of what it's like. Kind of. Actually, it didn't really strike me as very shapenotey. It had instruments in it, for one thing. And it was set up as a lead singer with the chorus as backup, rather than as four equal parts. Add to that the way they lined up the chorus in the background (the traditional square arrangement doesn't work too well on stage, I guess) and I probably wouldn't have recognized it as shapenote at all. Except for the fact that they all had a copy of The Sacred Harp, even though they weren't singing from it. Oh well.
On the song just before the shapenote song, something else appeared that I didn't expect to see: a hurdy-gurdy. The guy was hardly even playing it, though -- he was just droning. Hmph. What a waste.